Blockchain Technology In Travel & Tourism Industry With Tripio & KrisPay
Blockchain is agitating the travel ecosystem and assisting in streamlining processes and solving major pain points in an often fragmented industry.
The blockchain-based travel app, Known Traveller Digital Identity (KTDI), will build a more seamless passenger journey at entrance points. At the same time, consumer services such as Tripio are harnessing blockchain technology to restructure hotel booking custom.
This was the common theme among industry experts at the ‘Blockchain in Travel: Discover the Possibilities’ seminar conducted in Singapore on December 20, which highlighted the inherent applications of blockchain to serve the travel industry.
For example, Shruti Dwivedi, general manager, Blockchain Centre Singapore, referred two case studies – KrisPay and Tripio – that leverage blockchain to modify customer engagement.
KrisPay, Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) blockchain-based digital wallet, enables KrisFlyer frequent flyer program members to reform air miles into digital currency. This can then be used to pay for things almost instantly at SIA’s merchants in Singapore, including beauty product retailers, gas stations, and F&B outlets. The blockchain is privately-owned by SIA, and only network partners can negotiate on it.
Wong Soon-Hwa, founder and CEO of Asia Tourism Consulting, noted: “This is one way how SIA can convert underutilized points into value for itself and its partners, which would also help improve bottom lines for companies as middlemen are not required.”
Wong pointed out that blockchain isn’t actually a product, and is possibly better defined as a service, or “piping hidden behind the walls.” But simple as the means may sound, a “huge mindset shift is also needed to make use of blockchain.”
Subsequently, three-year-old Tripio is the first blockchain-based travel booking marketplace that has 450,000 hotels on its platform. With blockchain in action, Tripio helps hotels to evade the problems of high commission fees charged by OTAs, inaccurate updates on room status, and false reviews, which may cause difficulties for the traveler upon check-in.
“By using blockchain, the money paid by the customer gets logged into a smart contract (a self-executing contract with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller being directly written into lines of code).
When the services are rendered – depending on the outcome of the service – the money will then be transferred to the service provider,” said Dwivedi. In the event of conflicts, the money goes into dispute resolution.
On the backend, blockchain can also be used for more effective payments between service providers such as airlines and rental car companies, raising operational efficiency as well as baggage handling. At the same time, governments may also be able to use it for KTDI.
In terms of luggage tracking, companies will now be able to trace the origin of an asset, all the way to its endpoint. Blockchain makes it easier to discover a piece of baggage, as it has a decentralized database, which makes it efficient to share data across various parties.
Meantime, KTDI is a joint enterprise by the World Economic Forum, the Canadian and Dutch governments, Accenture, and Marriott International, which strives to create a more seamless experience for travelers by applying blockchain to resolve the exchange of identities and verification.
“What KTDI does is that it enables partners to have links to travelers’ identities on the blockchain, as opposed to direct identities (such as passports). This makes data privacy and security stronger and allows real-time sharing of data on a very secure network with encryption, hence the data is impossible to hack,” Dwivedi said.
Apart from enabling travelers to choose who they want to share the information with and how it’s going to be used, KTDI will empower its partners to obtain valid claims of a traveler’s identify to access their trustworthiness and optimize processing through collateral channels.
“Once I have been approved by multiple countries that I’m a fairly safe or decent traveler, these attestations can become my reputation, which would make my travel experience smoother,” thereby, translating to lesser visa applications and paperwork, Dwivedi noted.
She added: “What blockchain can offer is the improvement of customer service. It can be done in different ways, but at the end of the day, it helps to make the life of a traveler much more convenient, and their overall experience, a lot more pleasant.”
“Will blockchain succeed (in the travel industry)? A resounding yes. I’m not sure how long it will take, but many are increasingly embracing it in the travel and tourism industry. While its final form or shape may differ, blockchain is here to stay,” concluded Wong.